Heinz Brandenburg

University of Aberdeen


Abstract: This paper discusses the erosive impact of a shift from a politics of conflict, of polarized partisan representation to valence politics, a politics of performance, delivery and widespread policy consensus in advanced Western democracies. It is argued that consensus politics undermines the structuring role of political parties in the representation of societal conflict and hence results in diminishing interest, intensity and respect for politicians, parties and parliaments. It points towards a political rather than a sociological explanation of declining political trust.